Eight things about God’s Love.
(Based on John 3:16)
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Summery: - God’s love is unique, universal, unmerited, and personal. It’s saving, sacrificial and giving yet requiring only one thing.
This is one of the most familiar Bible references that most Christians learn it by-heart even in their young age. This verse presents the whole message of the Bible in the most summarized manner. It is about the love of God.
One thing we should know that God is a person just like all of us, of course without our weakness and limitations. He knows, understands, speaks and listens. He loves as we love others. He deals with emotionally as we do.
Let us see what Christ says about the love of God as John quotes this brilliant statement. Eight things are noteworthy:-
1. Unique love. “God so loved” - Incomparable love.
John has no words to express the worth, height and depth of God’s love. That’s why he just describes this love with ‘so’. In his epistle he says, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us…” 1John 3:1.
Different words in Greek for love:-
Bible scholars say that there are different words being used for love in the Greek language:-
a. ‘Eros’ – Love between a husband and wife.
b. ‘Phileo’ – Love between friends –affection.
c. ‘Storgea’ – Love between parents and children.
d. ‘Agape’ – Supreme love- with out any expectation, sacrificially giving for the wellbeing of others. This is the word used to describe God’s love.
God’s love is more than the love of our mother, father or friends. Cf. Isaiah 49:15, 16.
-Incomparable, immeasurable, unfathomable, and limitless.
Hymn writer says ‘more than tongue can tell…’!
2. Universal love. “God so loved the world”
God loved the world: not just a particular religion, community or nation. The whole world, every one is the object of God’s love. God extends His love to every land, every community. Because the whole world is His creation and He has a concern for every land and people groups through out the universe.
This expression ‘loved the world’ gives another idea about His love:-
3. Unmerited love. “God so loved the world”
What was the condition of the world when God loved them? That is not explicitly mentioned in this verse but implied. Notices the word ‘perish’, referring to the possible state of the world with out enjoying God’s love. That means world, humanity was unlovable and unworthy and on the way to destruction.
The Bible says a lot about the condition of man from his birth.
John himself writes in his letter “The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” 1John 5:19.
Because of the sin of Adam every individual became a sinner by birth, as a result he is away from God, living in darkness, ignorance and curse. He is guilty before God, trying his best to come back to God but in vain. He has no hope, no peace. Man is absolutely helpless in relation to spiritual life today and for ever. Step by step he is going in to the eternal hell-fire though not aware of it! Cf. Romans 3:10—19; Ephesians 2:12; Galatians 5:19; Revelation 21:8
Modern man may not accept the utter sinfulness of man. But, just imagine a man with a severe disease trying to prove that he is not sick. What is the use, what is the result? Slowly, he will die in his sickbed.
Wisdom is to notice the symptoms and treat the root cause. Similarly, see the symptoms of man’s sinfulness: increased violence, murder, rape, corruption etc. Who can deny the abiding evil in the heart of man? All these are the results of man’s wickedness.
It is in this wretched state of man, God extended His love to Him. God loves the unlovable and unworthy sinner. He may be rejected and despised by friends and dear ones because of his immoral character, bad habits or unacceptable behaviour. However, God loves them.
What a wonderful truth, although the whole world, even we ourselves begin to hate us, our creator almighty God loves us.
4. Personal love “whoever”
God loves every one yet that is very personally. A leader may say to the people ‘I love my people’, yet he may not even know many of those people individually. But that is not case with God. We are not strangers before God, as our creator, omniscient Almighty He knows us one by one.
He knows our name, nature and personal traits. What ever may be our personal conditions He loves us, we can come to God just as we are.
5. Saving love. “Not to perish”
What is the basic reason for God’s love? Is it just a show, few lovely words to impress us or with some other selfish motive. No. He loved for our own benefit. We may not perish.
Why should we perish? We have seen already the condition of the world when God loved. Because of sin and rebellion are in the path of eternal destruction. Cf. Hebrews 9:27; Rev 21:8; 20:12—15. Ezek. 18:20a, 32. It has been appointed for man to die once and then face judgment. Man will have to give an account to God at the white throne one day. And the natural result of living and dying in sin is eternal condemnation, separation from God.
Not only a judgment waits after death, even in the present day man by his sin bears the consequences of it in the form of unhappiness, anxiety, fear and various other mental and spiritual ailments.
Do we think God finds any pleasure in punishing people? Never Cf. Ezek. 18:20a, 32. He loves us. Nevertheless, His justice, righteousness demands appropriate judgment / reward for our actions. In His love He doesn’t want to punish us and allow us to perish. That’s another unique feature of God’s love. In His love God found a wonderful way by which His love and justice can be satisfied at the same time. That’s the next point.
6. Sacrificial love. “Send His only begotten Son”
The cost of Gods’ love was His own son. Love is known in action. God proved His love by sending His Son, Lord Jesus Christ to die as a substitute for man. Romans 5:8. He took the place of a sinner and went through the agony he would have suffered eternally.
The four gospel writer narrates the sufferings of Christ. He who knew no sin, even the Pilate the Roman governor who tried him said, “I find no fault it Him”, died as a criminal on the cross of Calvary.
The Bible says, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 He cried a sinner plea, “My God, My God why have you forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46b. Father forsook His Son as He was taking the place you and me.
But after His death rose again triumphantly and lives today to give forgiveness of sin and a new life. 2 Corinthians 5:14—17.
7. Giving love. “Ever lasting life”
True love always gives. Not only God gave His Son Jesus Christ, in Him also gives a new life. That is eternal life. What is eternal life? We must remember that every soul, after leaving the body by death will live for ever, some in heaven others in hell, both for eternally.
So, everlasting life doesn’t just refer to our life without end, but a life with God in heaven for ever. It is the life of God one possesses, new life that can relate to God etc. Basically that is what we need. We were dead in sins and trespasses but made us alive together with Christ by His grace. Eph 2:1, 5.
As we receive Christ as saviour and Lord we become the children born of God. It’s a new and unique birth, “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12, 13.
The Bible speaks much more blessings and benefits that we get as a result of trusting the Christ as our saviour and Lord. Our sins will be forgiven; Spirit of God starts to indwell in us. Divine nature like, purity, love, peace, joy etc begins to flow from our heart without our conscious effort. Romans 5:5; Galatians 5:22, 23.
8. Demanding love. “whoever believes in Him
All the above mentioned unique features of God’s love (unique, universal, unmerited, personal, saving, sacrificial and giving) is real and we can practical. Yet we may miss it if we fail to grasp this aspect of God’s love.
God demands man to believe Him, His word and agree to what He says. Nothing more. God doesn’t demand our money or any other material. How ever He expects unworthy, helpless man to acknowledge God’s Lordship and accept His love with all humility.
Faith is not just having an intellectual knowledge about God’s love. That’s only awareness about certain facts. Based on that understanding of the Biblical truths, one should yield to the Lordship of Christ. It does involve our wholehearted obedience.
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:36 (ESV)
Again John quotes the Lord,
“Truly, truly I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24 (ESV)
There are many other references where we see that to receive forgiveness of sins, salvation or eternal life, faith is the only way. No works can procure salvation. Salvation is by grace through faith alone. Eph 2:8. cf. Roma 5:1; 10:9 etc.
Very sad to notice that so many fail to understand this demand of God’s love. They are prepared to pay money or do some works to attain eternal life, but not prepared to believe! They think it is too cheap.
Never, the eternal life God promises in His love is free but not with out any cost. The Lord Jesus Christ paid a great price, His own precious blood. 1 Peter 1:18. He gives it free because it so precious that no man can pay for it!
Beloved, God’s love- unique, universal, unmerited, personal, saving, sacrificial and giving- is seeking you, requiring only one thing – your faith!
Will you believe and be saved? Decision is up to you. God loves just as you are. Come to Him by faith, confess your sins and receive Him as your saviour and Lord. And enjoy salvation, eternal life, new life and all the blessings of the heavenly places. Cf. 1 John 1:7, 9; Eph 1:3
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